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Updated 9:00 AM September 14, 2009

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Dr. Elizabeth Young

Dr. Elizabeth Young, professor of psychiatry and senior research professor, died Sept. 1 after a yearlong battle with leukemia. She was 59 years old.

Young, a researcher at the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI) and a member of the Depression Center, was an internationally renowned biological psychiatrist and neuroendocrinologist. She conducted seminal work on stress biology and its role in severe depression and mood disorders.

"Dr. Young's passing is a huge loss not only to her family, friends and colleagues at the University of Michigan, but to the whole field of biological psychiatry," says Huda Akil, co-director and senior research professor at MBNI. "The outpouring of love and sadness has been extremely moving, and a testament to a life well lived."

A ceremony to honor her memory is planned for Oct. 10 and a Scientific Symposium in the spring will honor her work.

Young was raised in the Detroit and Chicago areas and received her undergraduate education at the University of Dayton in Ohio. She earned her medical degree from the Ohio State University in 1976 and completed her residency in psychiatry at the same institution in 1979.

Young came to the U-M Medical School in July 1979 as a research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry Clinical Studies Unit. In 1981 she received a postdoctoral fellowship to work in the laboratories of Drs. Huda Akil and Stanley Watson at MBNI. She then received a physician scientist training grant and joined the faculty of MBNI and the Department of Psychiatry, where she moved through the ranks to the senior positions she occupied at the time of her death.

She is survived by her husband, Dr. Peter Hinman, step-daughter Dr. Mira Hinman and two step-granddaughters, Annika and Celia McDermott-Hinman.

A memorial fund has been created to establish The Elizabeth A. Young Lectureship on Stress and Mood Disorders at U-M. Donations to the fund can be sent to MBNI, 205 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Attn: R. Freedman.
— Submitted by Margarita Bauza, UMHS Public Relations

Bruce Parfitt

Botanist, biologist, birder Bruce Parfitt of Johnson, Vt., died Sept. 3 at Vermont Respite House in Williston. He was 56.

Among colleagues at UM-Flint Parfitt was a valued faculty member for 14 years, chair of the biology department from 2004-07 and director of the university's herbarium, whose collection grew in size and value under his care.

"Bruce was a dedicated teacher, often engaging his students in ongoing research projects, and a prolific scholar in the area of plant taxonomy," says D.J. Trela, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "I deeply regret Dr. Parfitt's death, and certainly extend my sincere sympathy to all his students and colleagues in the biology department, and across the university."

Among fellow plant systematists and professionals, he was best known for his co-authorship of the definitive work on cacti; volume four of the prestigious compendium "Flora of North America" published by Oxford University Press reflects his discovery of new species and encyclopedic knowledge.

It was while working as a field biologist in 1979 for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that he helicoptered in to hike the remote Hualapai Mountains to collect, identify and preserve rare species. What he discovered was eventually named a new species, Potentilla demotica.

Also among his contributions to his field are chapters on several other plant families for "The Flora of North America" and "The Jepson Manuals" (a series on the plants of California) and articles in some 40 peer-reviewed journals and publications.

Prior to joining the faculty of UM-Flint, he was a research botanist for the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, and a scientific editor of "Flora of North America" headquartered at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
— Submitted by Mel Serow, UM-Flint

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